the weblog of Alan Knox

Eagerly pursue their company in your home

Posted by on Nov 8, 2012 in blog links, hospitality | 10 comments

Eagerly pursue their company in your home

Stan at “Rocky Meadow” has written a very good article called “The Hospitality Commands Part 1” – which, I guess, indicates that there will be other parts. So, be on the look out for those posts too!

In this post, Stan talks about Romans 12:10-13, especially the instruction to practice hospitality. I love posts about hospitality, because I think it’s one of the things missing in the life of the modern church. (Perhaps it’s been missing for some time, but I only know about the years that I’ve been around…)

At one point, Stan writes this:

For now, let’s concentrate on the hospitality aspect of this description. If I were commenting solely on the English translation the word “practice” would catch my attention. Practice carries with it the idea of doing something repetitively until we get it right. That, in and of itself, would be a very good thing where hospitality among the followers of Christ is concerned.

The Greek behind the English translation conveys a slightly different idea. Practicing means “strive for” or “pursue”. Strive for sharing your hospitality with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Eagerly pursue their company in your home. Seek to share life together in Christ with them.

Think about what Stan said: “Strive for sharing your hospitality with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Eagerly pursue their company in your home. Seek to share life together in Christ with them.” I think that’s a great explanation of the instruction to practice hospitality.

But… there is a little problem. Today, the home is not generally considered a place of socialization. It’s often a place of seclusion.

So, how do we “practice hospitality” if people will not accept an invitation to our home? How do we “eagerly pursue their company in your home” when that’s out of the question for them? Is it possible to begin by “sharing life together in Christ with them” in another location? (By the way, this is the idea of a “third place.”)

Have you found certain places (besides the home) where people are more comfortable building the kind of relationships in Christ that Stan talks about here?

(As a funny / ironic side note… if you search for “hospitality” on Google images, you get almost all pics of restaurants and hotels. That tells us a little about what our culture thinks when they hear the term “hospitality.”)


10 Comments

  1. 11-8-2012

    Being outside in your neighborhood all the time is a great first step to connection with others. I really know that God has used us in our neighborhood even in small ways like getting people out front all the time and “crossing paths”.

    I read a great article somewhere (?) about how our houses/neighborhood design have changed so much. Even the houses themselves are now commonly built with garages in front… rather than front porches or entries (if there is even a porch) and how the design has affected our isolation even more. Very interesting.

    We have not had any problems with people not desiring to come into our home when we have asked. Perhaps that has to do with our life stage?

  2. 11-8-2012

    Randi,

    That’s great! And, I love the idea about being out in your neighborhood all the time. For us, we have many neighbors who are never seen. They drive out of their garage early in the morning (headed to work), and drive back into the garage late in the evening (after work and dinner and anything else). So, it takes a little creativity to get to know people like that.

    -Alan

  3. 11-8-2012

    Understood. We have many neighbors like that too. I am thankful that we don’t have to reach everybody around us. Sometimes it feels like that is the case – but I am sure there are more workers being built up in communities & not just in buildings once a week :)

  4. 11-9-2012

    It’s a huge blessing to be a stay-at-home Mum. I have four kids, and two are toddlers. I can’t really work at this stage of my life, which gives me the opportunity to invite people into my home all through the week. This is where I really experience “church” as community. Not everyone gets this chance, as most adults have to work full-time.

    Thanks for the link to Stan’s blog. He has written some great posts about hospitality.

    - Kathleen

  5. 11-9-2012

    Hey Alan!

    Thanks for bringing my blog post into your blog!

    There was a book written a few years back entitled “Lost in America” by Tom Clegg and Warren Bird. They looked at a lot of things churches were doing (when they wrote it) to reach the lost in America. One of the things they included is very much like what Randi is doing.

    As I am out of the US context, and have been for almost 10 years, I won’t comment much on that.

    Again, thanks!

  6. 11-9-2012

    Alan, I have to say, especially after I got married I realized how much people treasure their home AND they want to NOT invite / allow people in unless they really know them and are comfortable with them (and few are these latter ones)…

    But I can also testify that my wife and I have opened our home at least 2-3 times a week to some believers who want to study the Bible with us, and we eat together, talk and fellowship, sing something, and get into the Word of God. It is so normal, so simple, so sweet, and so wonderful! I am blessed to have a wife who is one with me in the Lord in this matter, and she is happy to cook and prepare some meals for those coming… The blessings we receive, the vital connections we have, the intimate fellowship and getting to know one another in a home setting, and the enjoyment of the Lord among us is so good…

    It is not easy to pursue hospitality though, since this means to literally open your home and have people over night… but you know what, the One who wrote this in the Word can do it in us, and if we open to Him and allow Him to make His home in our heart, believe me, He can do it in us. In ourselves, we have pros and cons, but in our spirit one with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17) we will discover that it is not that difficult!

  7. 11-9-2012

    I appreciate what you’ve said Alan & Kathleen – they were both reminders that I really am at an awesome time of life to be able to build relationships/invite others in – and so I will continue to do that.

    I think you are right – it does have a lot to do with life stage.

  8. 11-10-2012

    There are some great observations here! Thank you all very much for your comments.

    I’m wondering… has anyone been one of those who didn’t like people in their homes? Has that changed? Why?

    -Alan

  9. 11-11-2012

    Hi Alan!

    I am glad to see that the folks who have commented have been having a positive experience with having others in their homes.

    To answer your most recent question – we didn’t like having people in our home. My wife and I are both introverts and having a lot of people around or having people in our home can really be draining for us. However, when we do this as ministry and involve our spiritual gifts with the reality we find that God provides for us the physical, mental and spiritual resources to really enjoy it. Of course, we’re still tired when it is done, but we enjoy meeting together with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We’ve also found that when those who come to our home reciprocate and have us and others in their home, the burden does not rest on just one family to be the one offering hospitality.

    To answer your comment in the original post, part 2 should be online sometime on Monday.

    Blessings – Stan

  10. 11-11-2012

    Stan,

    Thank you very much for answering my questions. I love the way that God works in our lives both to change our preferences, but also to lead us to live outside of our preferences. Your story is a great example of that!

    -Alan

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